ALBANY, N.Y. Nov. 8, 2017 — Members of New York State United Teachers, and candidates backed by NYSUT locals, swept to victory in races across the state, demonstrating the power of the 600,000-plus member union to organize and mobilize on behalf of those who fight for middle class working people.
NYSUT President Andy Pallotta said that, in addition to making more than 500,000 phone calls and distributing more than 400,000 lawn signs, car magnets and pieces of literature to defeat the Constitutional Convention, NYSUT members enthusiastically knocked on doors and worked the streets on behalf of local candidates supportive of public education, labor and working people.
“Teachers and school bus drivers, college professors and nurses, are among the working people who are saying, ‘Enough.’ NYSUT members turned out in droves to defeat the Con Con and made their voices heard in down-ballot races,” Pallotta said. “They feel the system is rigged against them so they are supporting candidates who protect and defend workers and the middle class.”
Pallotta added that the union’s Pipeline Project, which encourages and supports NYSUT members who run for public office, again paid dividends.
“Many of our members are running for office — and they are winning,” Pallotta said. “And when they have other NYSUT members and local unions behind them, they are unstoppable. This wave of activism is building and NYSUT is proud to be leading it.”
Pallotta commended NYSUT locals, especially the Yonkers Federation of Teachers and Westchester Community College Federation of Teachers, for helping to elect state Sen. George Latimer as the next Westchester County executive. He also praised NYSUT-affiliated local unions in Nassau County — including the Nassau Community College Faculty Association — for lifting Laura Curran to victory over Jack Martins in that race for county executive.
Meanwhile, NYSUT locals helped Sparrow Tobin, a social studies teacher in Washingtonville and a NYSUT board member, win a seat on the Middletown Common Council; backed Jacqui Berger, a member of the NYSUT-affiliated United University Professions, win a seat on the Amherst Town Board; and successfully campaigned on behalf of Bill Conrad and Lisa Chimera, both teachers and NYSUT members who won seats on the Tonawanda Town Board.
Pat Burke, a UUP member, won a seat on the Erie County Legislature, while Beth Farrell, a school counselor in Lake Shore, won in a highly contested race for the Hamburg Town Council. The Lake Shore Central Teachers Association made more than 1,000 calls on her behalf.
Mike Schraft, a UUP member at Buffalo State, beat his opponent by a landslide for an Evans Town Council seat. Molly Reilly, a NYSUT member in the Jefferson-Herkimer-Lewis BOCES, was elected mayor of Sackets Harbor in Jefferson County. Dawn Thomas, a recently retired teacher from Broadalbin-Perth, won her bid for Glen town justice in Montgomery County. In addition, one-time NYSUT member Howard Maffucci, won in his bid for a seat on the Monroe County Legislature.
New York State United Teachers is a statewide union with more than 600,000 members in education, human services and health care. NYSUT is affiliated with the American Federation of Teachers, the National Education Association and the AFL-CIO.